Fantasy Football Draft Tips: Knowing your competition
However, simply knowing what player you want and what round you want him in is not always enough - another owner can always swoop in and steal your targeted player. One of the ways to better predict what will happen in your draft and make better decisions throughout the draft is to know your competition.
Note: This article applies mostly to leagues who generally have the same members year after year.
Know your league-mates' favorite teams. We all know fans who are overly optimistic each and every year despite their perennial disappointment. You know, the kind of guy who says Blaine Gabbert is one minor mechanical adjustment from top-tier quarterback status just because he's a Jaguars fan. These are the types of people you can take advantage of in fantasy drafts. I grew up just outside of New York City, so my league is almost entirely Jets and Giants fans, though we also - quite coincidentally - have a trio of AFC West rivals with a Chiefs fan, Chargers fan, and Raiders fan.
Every year, I tend to avoid drafting Jets and Giants players because I figure that there's a good chance they'll go too high, then I try to snag the players that end up dropping. In addition, you have to consider the teams' rivals - I have gotten Tom Brady and Wes Welker several times at a great value because of my league-mates' aversion to Patriots players.
Some owners may even be against drafting any player within their team's division altogether. If you want, let's say, Tom Brady, and the owners drafting between your current pick and your next pick are all Jets fans, you could grab a different player and assume Brady will be there for you in the next round.
Know what types of players your league-mates like. This is sort of a broad category, but I'll start with what positions certain owners like. We probably all have at least guy in our league who goes after a quarterback early every year. He figures that if he doesn't have one of the game's elite, he'll be at a disadvantage each and every week. Until that owner drafts a quarterback, you have to take his affinity for the position into consideration.
You also have the owner who is still on the old school "running back, running back, running back" draft strategy. Then you have the guy who always goes with the modern trend and targets a guy like Jimmy Graham or Rob Gronkowski in the second round. All of that should be considered when planning a draft strategy.
Your fantasy team can often dictate what games you watch on Sunday, and for that reason, some owners like to draft players who are exciting to watch. These owners could do without the big plodding runners, possession receivers, and pocket quarterbacks. Much of their team is made up of guys like Reggie Bush, Julio Jones, and Cam Newton. Take that into consideration, and you may be able to get someone like Steven Jackson, Wes Welker, or Matt Ryan for a great value.